Modelling of Initiation and Growth of Subsurface Cracks in Human Tooth Enamel

Amir Barani and Mark B. Bush


Teeth, Enamel, Cracks, XFEM


This work discusses the effect of enamel anisotropy on driving force of tuft-like cracks at the dentin-enamel junction (DEJ). The usual simplification when performing numerical analysis is to consider enamel to be isotropic. In this paper a more refined material behaviour is described based on realistic enamel behaviour (anisotropic or orthotropic). A two dimensional (2D) extended Finite Element Method (XFEM) is applied to the region close to the cusp subjected to indentation loading typical of mastication (occlusal loading). Analysis was performed for two different situations: orthotropic and isotropic material behaviour. The results indicate that the more realistic enamel material description (anisotropic or orthotropic) alters the stress distribution and consequently the resulting crack driving force. Specifically, crack growth is predicted to occur at significantly higher loads when the material is taken to be isotropic, implying that it is important to include the detailed material description when modelling crack growth within the enamel.

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